SampleSunday 3

An extract from a play about a group of friends in the ten years leading up to the Millennium.

1) Blood and Tears
1989. One year before the accident: 3.26AM.

A bedroom in a house-share. Goth posters on the wall; a single bed. The sound of fairground music, almost too quiet to hear, introduces BEATIE.

Beatie: early 20s. Odd Scottish/Cockney accent. Long dreadlocks. Piercings. Many tattoos. Fleecy jogging pants, black lycra sleeveless top. Cross-legged on the bed, nursing a blanket. A small rotating table-top lamp, projecting a swirl of stars and planets on the wall.

*Beatie and Edie are not aware of each other to start with, but become more attuned to each other as the scene moves on.

BEATIE: (gulps from water, sprawls on bed.) I’m soooo thirsty. You drink like a fish… I drink like a fish whenever. Scottish… 😉 Funny expression. I wonder what the etymology of it is. Etymology is a go-ood word. It’s one of Kieran’s favourite words, he’s always using it. Kayla says it’s because he wants to impress me. Saucy, Kayla thinks, she doesn’t know the half of it. Serious. Urghh. Wants to settle down. Do the whole commitment thing. Shit, I’ll never make the same mistake my Ma did, finished at 17, kiddies hanging off her, whiles her good for nothin’ hubby was shaggin’ groupies behind her back…

Beatie… short for Beatrice. A tattoo artist. Can’t sleep… Coming down…
(Makes a noise like a firework. Swirling stars increase in strength.)

(Fast) These are my drugs pyjamas. Kayla says it’s very important to have lovely fluffy things to touch when you are coming down. She’s my pal, doing teacher training. Kids, screaming little rug-rats, don’t know how she’ll stand it… 😛

…Watchin’ the cars going by out the window, the lights had this crazystreaky effect, like when you take a photo and the exposure’s too slow, and something’s moving. Yeah? It was like that. My brother Douggie got me into photography. A mate…

(Slower) …Tomsk, cool name, after a Womble… Tomsk, yeah? She’s a nurse, she’s started going out with a real artist, a painter. Her ‘legendary man’. I’d love to have a crystal ball, I’d love to see if I got me my legendary man… I only fall for arseholes… runs in the family. Tomsk’s bloke has designed her a tat and I’m going to do it next weekend. I’ve got these cool black plastic gloves that don’t show up any of the blood or the ink. Makes the customer feel a bit less nervous… 😉

I haven’t told my Ma I’ve dropped out yet… I can’t tell her that sort of thing, we’re not that sort of family.

(Beatie freezes. Lights dim in the bedroom.)

Lights up on a kitchen. Pine, warm.
1989: 5.59AM
Slight bird song.

EDIE: late 30s, vivacious, Scottish. She is wearing a baggy man’s jumper over a silk nightdress, her hands are floury.

EDIE: It’s so quiet. Now they’re both gone. No slamming doors or squabbling…

Making Ted some fresh bread, nothing better than waking up to fresh bread. It’s an effort but it’s worth it. My Auntie Rose used to bake, she would always say the magic ingredient is to make it with love. When you have kneaded the dough and let it rise twice, it feels soft and cool and has swollen up like a pregnant belly, and you kiss it…

After Beatie left I couldn’t stop crying for a week. My baby, my first-born – gone away. Douglas has moved out too, but he still makes his presence felt, whenever he wants his washing done…

Left me behind… My baby, my babies, are leaving…have left me. I’m alone. Ted not-withstanding. It’s all changing. The world’s changing, challenging, there’s something in the air, some sort of tension, some buzz. It’s like it was at the end of the ‘60s. There was this buzz then. It’s the same now. The Wall coming tumbling down. A sea change. A new Millennium on the way. Nothing to stop it. But some days I feel like… Time passes just like that and then you’re left with nothing if you’re not careful.

(Stops kneading, brushes hair behind ear. Freezes. Kitchen light down. Bedroom light up. Beatie unfreezes and sits back down.)

BEATIE: …There’s not that much blood, not from most people. As long as people are relaxed, it doesn’t hurt… much. Bonfire night. Bit of a mad day. You know, boozin’, smokin’, a little tab for laters, more boozin’, snoggin’, a cab home. The usual London weekend… I lo—ove London. Acid’s fuckin’ brilliant, innit? Drink like a fish, next
morning, no overhang. /We…

EDIE: /I turned on the radio…

(Edie interrupts. Beatie looks annoyed but allows Edie to speak, looks impatient.)

EDIE: …I turned on the radio this morning and they were still on about that terrible Alaskan oil spill. It will take years to clean it up properly they were saying. Seals bloated, downy bodies covered in oil… I saw seals when I was on my honeymoon… the first one, the kids’ father… we went to the Western Isles, I was expecting Beatie. Beautiful soppy things, big brown eyes like dogs, streamlined dogs, swimming in the sea next to our boat. Big brown eyes that looked like they were… crying… I was sick after the seals. I said it was the seasick, but I think even then, even then, so few days into it, I knew it was a huge mistake…

(Starts kneading again. In Beatie’s bedroom, colours begin to explode as Beatie remembers the fireworks display.)

BEATIE: …Went up to see the bonfireworks. Colours brighter; a layer of water between my eyes and the world. You need to be outside when you’re tripping. They were the brightest bonfireworks I’ve ever seen in my life.
Ever. Ever. Ever… Multi-colours burned. Like a dream… Tomsk and Davy, lips locked, that fat friend of somebody, me, Kayla and Jess, a couple of Kay’s dodgy connections and Kier. All pretty off our heads …

EDIE: …I worry about her, them, but her more so than him. You do with girls don’t you? When she came back that evening with her first tattoo, I nearly had kittens. Him, I would have expected it of, but not her. It looked so ugly. She had made her beautiful, soft skin ugly. She was only 15, she had lied to the man in the tattoo parlour… Little minx. Who’d have ever thought that beautiful little child with the blonde kiss curls would turn into the tattooed… tattooing lady? I’m thinking of getting her to do one on me. Maybe her name in a heart. Just (exaggerates French) ‘tres petite’, on my arm on the top. Nanna would be spinning in her grave.

(Knocks back bread, divides it into two bread tins. Covers them with a tea-towel.)

(Beat) I asked her not to call me Mum when we are out. People think she is my younger sister. Someone still as
young as me with a teenager in tow…

(c) Sam Hall, 2011, An extract from ‘Wet Dreams’, a play.

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